Ask Vic: About that ‘young-building script’

Posted Oct 22, 2013

Senior Editor Vic Carucci answers fan questions from the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages, and

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages, and Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

John says: “The Browns’ upper office should be ashamed. They keep saying they are a young team building. It’s been 13 years. Really!!!!!! I don’t think that works anymore. The Browns have to be the worst team ever in NFL history, and they seem OK with that!!!!! SAD.”

I say: I hear you, John. Your anger and frustration are totally understandable.

I know you don’t want to hear (or read) this, but the young-team-building model actually does work. It has worked in other places in the league. It can work with this team, too.

I think it’s fair to say that your biggest problem – and I’ve heard this from others – is that you’ve seen this movie too many times before with the Browns and you know how it ends.

However, I would strongly suggest that you at least allow the “new cast and crew” to prove that they can deliver a different result. I’m asking that you have a little more faith in chief executive officer Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi. Their larger, and more recent, bodies of work merit as much. I know that the most controversial move to date, trading Trent Richardson to the Colts for a first-round draft pick, doesn’t seem so controversial anymore, does it?

Much more work needs to be done, to be certain, but I’m inclined to see some positive indications about what is being put together. Let’s see how the balance of the season and a second (and highly pivotal) draft, in which the Browns own 10 picks so far, play out before declaring that the situation is absolutely hopeless.

Mark says: “The Browns are purposely tanking the season. There is no other logical answer for sticking with Brandon Weeden at quarterback.”

I say: I don’t agree, Mark.

“Tanking” a season isn’t a plan and doesn’t factor in any discussion about what to do at quarterback or any other position. “Tanking” was the word that a whole lot of people used to describe the thinking behind the Richardson deal, and we have all seen how inaccurate that was.

If coach Rob Chudzinski ends up sticking with Weeden, it’s because he believes he does not have a better alternative in Jason Campbell, the only other healthy quarterback on the team.

There are no ulterior motives.

And it isn’t as if Chudzinski would be passing over someone who would definitely present an upgrade. My sense is that it would probably be a little easier to switch to Campbell if he had been prepared to be the Browns’ starter from the beginning of the offseason or at least the start of training camp. Despite his nine years of experience, he would likely need a little time to find a comfort level with his surrounding cast and the offense in general.

Campbell has a good arm and is more mobile than Weeden. The biggest drawback is that he can be a little too deliberate with his throwing motion, which can make him more susceptible to an exceptionally strong pass rush such as the one the Browns will face Sunday at Kansas City. 

Ken says: “Do you think the front office gives Brian Hoyer a true chance or look next season?”

I say: If, by true, Ken, you mean that he would have a realistic chance to compete for the starting job, yes.

Assuming he fully recovers from major knee surgery, Hoyer should be very much in the mix to become the Browns’ No. 1 quarterback next season. However, I fully expect the team to use a first-round draft pick on a quarterback and that selection would obviously be a strong candidate to start as a rookie.

In a perfect world, Hoyer would prove that he’s worthy of starting and handle the job for a season and maybe longer as the first-rounder watches and learns. Now, we all know, from multiple recent examples with the Browns and around the NFL, that such scenarios don’t always play themselves out that way – that teams feel a great deal of pressure to push the first-rounder into the lineup as quickly as possible.

But I believe Hoyer sufficiently demonstrated that he could, at the very least, serve as a “bridge” for that proverbial franchise quarterback of the future, and, at the very most, be a long-term starter.

Anthony says: “Work out a trade with Washington and get Kirk Cousins.”

I say: I can see the logic in your wanting the Browns to go down that road, Anthony.

Cousins has looked good in his very limited body of work behind Robert Griffin III in Washington, especially in the start he made as a rookie last year against the Browns.

He’s bright. He’s athletic. He throws the ball well. He gets the ball out of his hand quickly. He seemingly has all of the traits that this or any team would want in a quarterback.

However, I don’t know if the Browns would be willing to make the major trade investment that would likely be required to land Cousins (nor do I have any idea that the Redskins would want to part ways with quality depth he provides behind an injury-prone starter). Cousins is the guy you acquire to be your long-term answer at quarterback, which means that such a move would be made with the belief that he’s better than any (or at least most) of the quarterback prospects in next year’s draft.

Is he? Hard to say.

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